Gospel Sermon Illustrations

Gospel Sermon Illustrations

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In the historical sketch of an Ohio Church one can read with interest how a Bible with raised letters was presented in 1863 to the blind organist, Walter L. Campbell. In the words of presentation, spoken or written by the pastor of the church, it expressed the following pious wish: "May the precious truths of the gospel of Christ be your comfort in life, your support in death, and your portion in eternity."

How well and truly was that spoken! The gospel of Christ, to him who believes it, and who humbles his heart and mind before the majesty of Christ's atonement for sin, is our comfort in life, our stay and support in death, and in eternity our sure and everlasting portion.

An African woman who had heard for the first time, from a missionary, the story of Christ and the Cross, exclaimed, "I always knew that there must be such a man as that!" When we speak of the witness of humanity to Christianity, that is what we mean: that Christianity must be true because it is adapted to man—ancient, medieval, modern, man wherever he has appeared in the past, man in whatever state we can imagine him to exist in the ages to come.

When Marshal Soult returned from a sojourn in Spain he brought with him to Paris a copy of Murillo's "Virgin and Child." When he came to examine the painting he discovered that only the center of the picture was genuine, that the border was meretricious and of inferior work.

Some years after, Lord Overstowe while traveling in Spain was attracted by a painting which had a very inferior center but the border of which was superb—angels and clouds, the sort of thing in which Murillo excelled—and for the sake of the border he bought the picture. Then at the sale of Soult's effects he purchased the picture which Soult had brought from Spain, and on examining the two in his gallery he discovered that Soult's picture contained the center for the picture which he himself had brought from Spain, fitting exactly not only in detail of mechanism but in tone and color.

The Christian religion is a glorious border that fits man's soul. The soul of man comes from God, therefore the religion which fits it, which answers his utmost need, must also come from God.

Deep in the heart of the Virginia mountains stands an ancient gray stone church. In the quiet acre alongside, close to the wall of the church, as if craving in death the fellowship of God's house which they enjoyed in life, sleep the pioneer forefathers who conquered that wilderness with rifle, ax, and psalm book. In a stone over the portal of the church are cut these words: "This church was built by God-fearing inhabitants of this place as a token of their love for the holy gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."

A minister well known in England was called once late at night to visit a dying woman in one of the poorest sections of the city. After climbing the stairs up to her wretched apartment, he sat down beside the woman and tried to comfort her by speaking of courage, and patience, and hope, and that sort of thing—the themes that had been the tenor of his preaching in the church. But the woman interrupted him saying, "All that's true, but it's not for the likes of me. Just tell me how a poor sinner can get in." Then the minister remembered what he had never forgotten, although he had ceased to preach it, and told her the Bible's simple story of repentance and salvation through the death of Jesus Christ. ... "I got her in," he said, afterward, "and what's more, I got myself in, too."

The Swedish novelist Selma Lagerlof, in her tale The Miracles of Antichrist, tells of a wonder-working image of Christ as a child, which was enshrined in a monastery on Capitol Hill at Rome and greatly venerated by the monks. The image was adorned with costly jewels and wore a crown of gold. An Englishwoman of great wealth who came to pray in the chapel where the image stood was greatly taken with it. But when she asked the monks to sell it to her, they told her that if she were to give them a pile of gold as high as the Capitol Hill they would not part with it.

Then she contrived to secure the image by craft and deceit. She had a workman produce an image of the same dimensions, yet made of cheap wood. It was furnished with a crown, but only of tinsel, not of gold. When it was finished, it looked just like the genuine image—so much so that, in order not to be confused herself by the resemblance, she had the workman scratch upon the tinsel crown with the point of a needle, "My kingdom is only of this world." Then one day while praying before the real image she pretended to faint, and when the attendant went off for a glass of water she exchanged the images and secreted the true image under her cloak.

For a time worship went on in the chapel just the same as before. No one detected that a false image had been substituted for the genuine. But one night at midnight the monks heard a loud knocking at the door of the monastery. When they opened the door, lo! there stood their true image of Christ! In amazement they carried it up to the chapel; and then, carefully examining the other image, they discovered the fraud and read the inscription written with the needle point on the crown of the false image: "My kingdom is only of this world." Whereupon they set the true image in its place and in anger hurled the false image down the steps of the Capitol. There it was recovered by the woman who had had it made.

Wherever she went on her travels through Europe with that false image, in some mysterious way the Church and .the gospel seemed to lose their power. At length, in one of the riots of the Commune in the streets of Paris, the workmen who had recovered the false image from the baggage of a wrecked carriage set it up on their barricades. There it was seen by a philosopher and thinker, who read the inscription, "My kingdom is only of this world." That legend he adopted for the gospel of socialism which he proclaimed.

Today there is proclaimed in the world a gospel, popular in many churches, which looks like, and sounds like, the real thing. But if one looks closely, he will see written across its brow that inscription, "My kingdom is only of this world."

Hugo Grotius has written, "It is the will of God that those things which He would have us believe, so that faith should be accepted from us as obedience, should not be so very plain, as those things we perceive by our senses, and by demonstration; but only so far as it is sufficient to procure belief, and persuade a man of the thing, who is not obstinately bent against it, so that the Gospel is, as it were, a touchstone to try men's honest dispositions by."

Power of the Gospel

"I have had twenty-one years experience with the natives. I have seen the semi-civilized and the uncivilized; I have lived with the Christian native, and I have lived, dined, and slept with the cannibals. For at least nine years of my life, I have lived with the savages of New Guinea . . . wherever there had been the slighest spark of civilization in the southern seas it has been because the Gospel has been preached there."—James Chalmers. (Have you seen news items of American flyers shot down at sea? and of their reception by those very natives? Many a prayer of thanks has been raised because James Chalmers and many like him carried the "Good News" there."—Gospel Herald.

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